Top 10 complaints about cyclists

'Why should I care what cyclists do?'
'Why should I care what cyclists do?'

In his never-ending quest to convince everyone to his way of thinking, Story reporter and regular cyclist Lachlan Forsyth has set about answering the top 10 myths about people who ride bikes.

1. Cyclists hate cars.

Not True. I bloody love cars. My dream car is a mint condition BMW E30 M3, but have you seen how much a good one costs?! There's no way I'm getting that one past the wife. (The Lachlan Forsyth BMW E30 fund is accepting donations c/- TV3, 3 Flower St, Auckland.)

2. Why do cyclists take up so much of the road?

Generally speaking, when it happens, it's out of safety. Often it's to stay out of the "car-door zone".

Sometimes, it's because the road's quite skinny and it's safest to "claim the lane". Try and imagine what it's like to have a few tonnes of metal, travelling very quickly, trying to squeeze past you. It's not pleasant. If you get stuck behind a slow cyclist, there's no rush. Take a breath, wait a few seconds; it'll be okay.

3. Cyclists don't pay their way, so they don't belong on the roads.

Okay, but they do. Local roads are paid for through rates. Highways are paid for through taxes. There's no such thing as road tax. There are road user charges and fuel excise, but much of this money simply goes to maintaining the damage done to our roads by motor vehicles. Also, refer to point eight.

4. Why would you ride a bike instead of driving a car?

Well, for me, biking to work is faster, cheaper and (generally) more enjoyable. Plus, have you seen my legs? Calves like this don't come easy.

5. All cyclists ignore the rules so they get what they deserve.

Not true at all. Some do, just like some motorists speed, tailgate and text while driving. Cyclists who break the law deserve everything they get. Just don't lump us all in together.

6. Why do cyclists wear stupid clothes?

I assume you're talking about Lycra. You're right, it can look a little silly, but it's actually pretty functional, usually. But what's with the clothes hate? I mean, have you seen how the Queen's Guard dress? They look ridiculous! They've got bearskin hats and all, but people bloody love them! Bearskin hats for cyclists. 

(Photo: Wikipedia)

7. Cyclists are slow and hold up traffic.

When was the last time you saw a traffic jam made up of people on bicycles? Tell you what, let's have a race in rush-hour traffic from Mt Eden to New Lynn and see who wins. I'm willing to put $50 on this.

8. I don't cycle, so why should I care what cyclists do?

Well, besides a reduction in future health, fuel and environmental costs totalling billions of dollars, just think about how many fewer people there'd be driving on the roads. More people biking, the faster your trip to work becomes! That's what's called a win-win.

9. Anyone riding a bike should have to have a licence.

Why? Will that piece of paper stop me being hit by a bus? Do licences stop motorists breaking the law? Are we now going to be charging and registering little kids so can they ride to school?

10. I bloody hate cyclists.

I'm very sorry to hear that. But isn't it better to be a motorist who's a bit frustrated by cyclists, than a cyclist who's been hospitalised by a frustrated motorist? It's all good, let's just play nice, eh?

Do you agree? Disagree? Let's hear from you! But if you're going to make claims, you better have facts and evidence to back you up.